And then Sweden was suddenly quite pretty
Back over the Arctic Circle
The mood the next morning was rather Mau. We drove to the next Circle K gas station and I had to realize that the coffee flat rate was really only valid in Norway. As we drove on, we found ourselves again in the Arctic Circle, with the difference that we were now in Sweden, driving from north to south. As cool as crossing the Arctic Circle was on the outward journey, the whole thing was unspectacular on the Swedish side. In addition to large signs that should draw attention to where you were, there was a souvenir shop and a restaurant, but since it was still low season, both were closed. This made the whole area seem deserted. Unimpressed, we used the break to at least brush our teeth in the parking lot and take a few photos.
The onward journey didn’t hold much good for us either, as we had to cross a 10km(!) long section of a construction site on which there was only gravel and you couldn’t drive faster than 8km/h. Starving, we reached our next destination, Arvidsjaur. We actually wanted to go to a Swedish restaurant there, but all the restaurants were closed, so we went to the local Greek instead, who still had elk and reindeer on the menu, which we ordered directly and which was also very tasty.
Just before Arvidsjaur, a sign drew our attention to the Hembygdsföreninh Museum. So after dinner we got in the car and turned around to visit the museum. That was a good decision, because Hembygdsföreninh turned out to be a cozy little local history museum. It was a traditional Swedish house, which could be visited on a donation basis. In addition to a large number of old objects from the everyday life of the former residents of this house, there were also mannequins in traditional clothing, which were supposed to breathe life into the whole thing. Crafts were sold upstairs and there was a small cafe where, alongside my next coffee, I also sampled my first cinnamon roll in Sweden, while Kevin chose the homemade apple pie. In addition, there was a fairly large outdoor area with several hiking trails, but they were more like walking trails. So we walked the longest, the 2.5 km long Prästtjärnsstigen. The path led us around a small lake along bushes with berries with small information signs about the local flora and fauna. In addition, there was a small labyrinth that didn’t really live up to its name, but it was still fun to walk through. So after all the initial difficulties we finally arrived in the beautiful part of Sweden.
The reason why we chose Arvidsjaur as our destination was Lappstaden, an area with numerous traditional Sami wooden houses, which was freely accessible and is still partly used by Sami families today, although no longer for living. The area was actually a bit smaller than expected, but still quite interesting.
Finally the day came to an end and we headed for the next best campsite. This was a strange mix of campground and sports center with basketball court and gym. My eyes lit up at the thought of being able to do some sport in the evening, but even after a quarter of an hour’s search we didn’t find a single employee and the blinds at the reception were pulled down. So we got in the car and called the next campsite to reserve directly. Luckily he even had vacant huts (now we had gotten used to the luxury and decided to only stay in huts instead of in the car). The campsite was a good bit off the beaten track on an island of sorts and otherwise far removed from any civilisation. We still didn’t have a real network and on this island it was hopeless to even get the mobile phone out of your pocket. But what surprised us more was that you could only pay in cash here. After almost no one asked for cash on our trip and it was not even accepted in some cases, we hardly had any bills in our wallets. So not only did we scrape together all the Swedish kronor we had, but we also put a lot of our remaining Norwegian and Danish kroner on top of it. Somehow we managed to pay for our cabin and it was really worth it.
The hut only fit a bunk bed, a kitchen table with two chairs and a small kitchenette, but it still seemed, or maybe because of it, really very cozy. Since it wasn’t too late, I went for a jog while Kevin stayed in the cabin to read a book. However, my little jogging trip was short-lived as I was hit by a heavy rain shower. But I was able to spot a picturesque rainbow on the way. In influencer circles, the rest of our time on this campsite would probably be described as slowing down: somewhere in the middle of nowhere but still inviting and without any connection to the outside world. The next morning I discovered a real treasure in our hut: there was a yellowed guest book in one of the kitchen cupboards. The last entry was from summer 2020 and the very first entry was from 1995! I immediately pulled out a pen and immortalized us in this very guest book. Let’s see who will find it next…